We truly were enamored by our entire trip to Africa this past Fall and the end was not at all disappointing with our next 2 great stays including a fabulous 'camp' in Amboseli National Park and another lovely accommodation that we enjoyed in the Masai Mara Naboisho Conservancy. Both of these locations are in the southern part of Kenya, your classic "Out of Africa" country to visit for safaris.
We stayed at the lovely "Elewana" Tortilis Camp that happens to be located in a private conservancy bordering the Amboseli National Park. The name Tortilis comes from the very famous flat-topped umbrella thorn trees that are native to the area and in great abundance.
Tortilis Camp has the most inviting, warm, caring, friendly management and staff who clearly know how to treat their guests as though they are a much-loved part of their family. The tents are spacious and have large en-suite bathrooms and a lovely private deck in the front of them. They even have a private house and family tent available for larger family needs.
They have a comfortable main lounge, bar and dining area with fantastic food and they cater very well to those of us with allergies so that you don't need to worry about anything where that's concerned. They're also very attentive to special occasions including birthdays and anniversaries. We were fortunate to be honored with a celebration for both while we were there and it was very special!
The view from the main lodge area was fabulous down to a watering hole so that we were able to watch all the animals coming and going during our mealtime. The birds too were wonderful to watch as well nearby the dining area - such vibrant colors!
They were also one of the first "Gold Eco-Rated" lodges of their size and are proudly 100% solar. Their property is exquisitely built with natural materials including thatched roofs. They even have a great tree planting program whereby there are packets of seeds that you can take with you into the park and scatter them around to plant this much needed resource. I had fun doing it myself!
Interestingly, although when you think of Kenya and this part of Africa, the Great Migration may come to mind. Amboseli is actually not part of this and in fact the animal population there, including the wildebeests and zebra do not actually migrate at all and let me tell you, there is a massive number of animals there for you to enjoy including elephants, zebra, wildebeest, lions, antelope and so many more different varieties.
Birds are the other wildlife that are absolutely amazing in this area no matter what time of year since they always have water, no matter the season, with the run-off from Mount Kilimanjaro.
Another very cool, common sight was of the 'dust devils' at Amboseli. They were absolutely fascinating to watch. Not something you want to get caught up in since they're like mini tornadoes of dust, but very interesting from a distance.
The park has approximately 1600 elephants and it's absolutely fascinating watching the various families with all their babies and caring nature for each other. So wonderful spending quality time just sitting and admiring their ways.
There's a wonderful Elephant Trust Research Project and we happened across one of its great leaders, Professor Phyllis Lee, who was out observing a family of elephants when we came across her in our vehicle. She's been carrying out field research on animal behavior since 1975 and has been part of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project since 1982. It's great to see such a caring nature towards their wildlife in all parts of Africa that we've visited. They know how critically important it is to their tourism industry and the sustainability of their environment.
Interestingly, there was a baby elephant lying down amongst the others apparently sleeping. When this happens, the family will allow the baby to sleep and they'll all just hang around until he or she is ready to get up and start moving again. Elephants are such wonderful animals to watch as they're so beautiful and family oriented! This is what Professor Lee was observing when we came across her in the park.
We were treated to our first eyewitness of an actual chase and kill by a lion pride with a wildebeest. It was quite riveting. We're always reminding ourselves of the 'circle of life' when this sort of thing happens before our eyes. They had a large number of cubs that they had to feed along with the older lions as well. They tried for a zebra that same evening, but were not successful that time. In fact, we learned that they're only successful about 30% of the time with their chases for a kill.
Of course, I have to make mention of the wonderful sunsets and sunrises we also experienced in this part of our journey as well. They're made even more special when you can capture a photo of animals in the foreground. :)
I had planned to include both lodge stays in Kenya with this blog, but soon realized that there was just too much to relate in just one so I've decided to split them up and do one this week and the other next week. Just too many great memories and even better photo shares.
I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I have relating it and will join me again for my next blog on the second fabulous lodge we stayed at in Kenya. Last, but certainly not least!